United v Ar­rows: Er­tu­gral up against his ex-stu­dent Kom­phela

The Sunday Independent - - SPORT - MINENHLE MKHIZE [email protected]

MAR­ITZBURG United boss Muhsin Er­tu­gral is rel­ish­ing an op­por­tu­nity to face his old “stu­dent”, Steve Kom­phela, in an Absa Premier­ship KwaZulu-Natal derby to­day.

The Team of Choice will lock horns with La­montville Golden Ar­rows at Sugar Ray Xulu Sta­dium in Cler­mont (3.30pm kick-off).

Kom­phela re­cently joined Abafana Bes’thende from Bloem­fontein Celtic, re­plac­ing Clin­ton Larsen at the helm.

Er­tu­gral is also still new. He took over the reins as the new coach of United to­wards the end of last year.

Er­tu­gral gave Kom­phela his first job as coach when they were at Kaizer Chiefs. This was in 2001 when Kom­phela served as an as­sis­tant to him. And Er­tu­gral knows what to ex­pect from his coun­ter­part: “I know him well. Steve was my as­sis­tant (at Kaizer Chiefs). It was his first job. I’ve al­ways be­lieved in Steve’s coach­ing abil­ity. I also know him from Turkey when we both there.”

Er­tu­gral and Kom­phela will be look­ing to get off to fly­ing starts to the new year as United are lan­guish­ing at the foot of the ta­ble with just 11 points after 14 games while Abafana Bes’thende are 11th on 16 points.

“I know where he (Steve) comes from and I hope Mab­hudi (Khenyeza) will go the same way. He is one of the most tal­ented coaches and he brings pas­sion in to the game. As much as peo­ple may say dif­fer­ent things, Steve is a very good coach. I know his think­ing, and I know his judg­ment, “Er­tu­gral added.

The Team of Choice have only reg­is­tered one vic­tory so far this sea­son and, clearly, will be look­ing to im­prove on that dis­mal record and in­flict re­venge on Abafana Bes’thende. Ar­rows de­feated United when they met in the first round, a 2-0 de­feat at Harry Gwala Sta­dium in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg.

“I love Steve as a hu­man be­ing. I like how he op­er­ates. We are good friends but we will now see how he comes out to try and stop me when we’re up against each other,” Er­tu­gral added with a big smile.

Ar­rows wel­come back their ex­pe­ri­enced duo of Danny Phiri and Musa Bi­lankulu who missed the last game due to in­jury.

“The United team that was here last year was very good. They fin­ished in the top four. They can’t have be­come poor overnight. What­ever the rea­sons are, I need to find them out (as to why they are not per­form­ing this sea­son),” Er­tu­gral said.

“We have a team full of pace. For years now I haven’t worked with the team that has so much tremen­dous pace. All of the boys are en­thu­si­as­tic. I hate it when the coach comes and says my phi­los­o­phy is this or that. You have to ad­just with what you have. Right now we are look­ing at how can we best utilise this pace. So these are el­e­ments that we are work­ing on.”

United and Ar­rows ended 2018 with de­feats and will be look­ing to bounce back. Ar­rows suf­fered a 2-0 loss to AmaZulu away from home while United were shot down by Baroka FC in their own back­yard.

“I’m pretty ex­cited about this United team. I have to learn more about their habits. We can talk a lot but the most im­por­tant thing is re­sults and we need to show we don’t be­long in bot­tom place. I’m happy with what I’ve seen in train­ing.” Er­tu­gral in­sisted.

Also to­day, Baroka FC host Black Leop­ards (3.30pm).

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